When in doubt, call a nurse

Ever wonder what to do about that pesky rash or what types of medication you’re able to give your children? Well, now quick health information…

Ever wonder what to do about that pesky rash or what types of medication you’re able to give your children?

Well, now quick health information is just a phone call away — just dial 811.

The Yukon Health Line was launched yesterday afternoon.

“It’s not an emergency service and it’s not meant to replace visits to the doctor or the hospital,” said Health and Social Services spokesperson Pat Living.

“We’re encouraging folks who just have questions to call — it’s for those who think, ‘I really shouldn’t bother somebody about this. Well, maybe they should just pick up the phone and ask.’”

The new help line is available from any community in the Yukon 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is completely free of charge.

Unfortunately, the service is currently not available by cellphone due to technical issues that are still being ironed out.

The service will go above and beyond Health and Social Services website’s online symptom checker.

The majority of the nurses who work for the help line have around 20 to 25 years of experience, said Living.

“That’s not something you can create on the computer.”

The specially trained nurses will be answering Yukon calls from a call centre in British Columbia.

They will use a database and community profile created by Yukon nurses and contractors.

“So if you’re calling from Ross River, for example, they’ll know that there’s a community health centre and how many nurses there are there,” said Living.

“They’ll know that there’s no pharmacy; they’ll know that there’s no hospital and how long it will take to get there.”

The service will be enhanced on July 14, when people in rural communities calling their local health centre after hours will have the option of connecting with the health line.

The health line is provided through a partnership with Health Line Services BC.

The project cost $100,000 for all the work preceding the launch of the service and the next six months of its operation.

After that the territory will be charged 82 cents a minute.

With an estimated 4,000 calls per year and an average of 14 minutes per call, the service is expected to cost the territory about $46,000 a year.

The Yukon Health Line is available in 130 different languages including some First Nation languages.

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